Tony Kanaan will return to the IndyCar Series after signing a late deal with KV Racing Technology for the 2011 season.
Kanaan lost his drive with Andretti Autosport at the end of last season and was then forced out of a planned drive with De Ferran Dragon Racing when a lack of sponsorship forced the team to close.
However, the Brazilian has now agreed a deal to drive a third KVRT entry with backing from GEICO alongside Takuma Sato and EJ Viso.
“I think Tony is a great addition to our team,” KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser said. “He, along with Taku and EJ gives KVRT – Lotus a very strong driver line-up and one I am sure can compete for podium finishes and race wins. Tony's knowledge and experience will be extremely valuable to our team. I would also like to thank GEICO for their support and KVRT – Lotus General Manager Mark Johnson for his tireless work getting all the parties together.”
Kanaan himself was pleased to be able to secure a place on the grid and revealed he has previously spoken to KVRT prior to agreeing his ill-fated deal with De Ferran Dragon.
“Jimmy and I started talking about joining forces at the end of last season, but the timing was not ideal and I ended up signing with Gil (de Ferran),” he said. “When I became a free agent in mid-February, calling Vasser seemed like a natural thing to do since KVRT was one of the top teams still looking for a driver. Jimmy and I go back a long way, we were rivals during the CART days, but more than that, we have always been good friends, which helped a lot with our negotiations.
“I'm thrilled that we reached an agreement and from the bottom of my heart I'd like to thank KV Racing Technology – Lotus for the opportunity they have given me and especially for taking me under the circumstances I found myself in. KVRT - Lotus is one of the most successful teams that joined IndyCar from Champ Car and I can't wait to sit in the legendary Lotus #82 car and start working with the crew. I've spent the last six months looking for sponsorship and not thinking about racing. so I missed all the pre-season testing, but I really can't complain.
“With a group of guys like Vasser and his team backing me, plus the help of my new teammates, Takuma Sato and EJ Viso, the only thing I can say is that I'm ready to do what I do best, drive a racecar and push hard to give KVRT – Lotus their first IndyCar win.”